Meet the Future Makers of Labiotech

19/05/2022 - 8 minutes

Following our recent acquisition by Inova, our team is expanding! We’re very excited to welcome three new hires to join our international team:

  • Jim, former Editor at DairyReporter, is joining us as Editor-in-Chief. As a music composer, photographer, and podcaster, he is looking to bring in loads of creative energy and explore fun ways to talk about biotech!
  • Omnia, joining from Egypt, is a real bookworm (do check out the books she recommends below). She is most amazed by the different writing styles an Editor can encounter everyday and sees it as a source of inspiration for her own writing. Omnia, let us know when you’re publishing your first book 😉 
  • Alban, former Key Account Manager at Inova, was looking for a chance to fulfill his ambition in helping the biopharma industry connect and collaborate, and then he met us! Alban will be leading the Sales team and helping our partners brainstorm best strategies to realize their science and make an impact.  

I had the honor to sit down with them and learn more about them as a person, their ambitions for Labiotech, as well as their advice for young people who wish to get into science communication and biotech: 

Jim Cornall, Editor-in-Chief

English and Canadian based in Scotland, UK

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Jim, to start with, how would you describe yourself in 3 words?

An impossible task! 

What inspired you to start writing/editing?

I started selling photos in my early teens, actually a little earlier than that, and started writing shortly afterwards for local newspapers and music publications. After my education (at too many universities), I moved to Canada, switched career paths, and started out on the radio, as well as freelance writing for music and sport magazines, and after that became editor of publications including magazines, a scientific journal, and newspapers. I also wrote and edited books and, more recently, websites. I’ve written and taken photos for hundreds of publications around the world on a variety of topics, and I really love the fact that it’s possible to cover so many different subjects. My earliest inspirations in media were mostly radio broadcasters, they taught me a lot about interviewing and storytelling, sometimes by listening to them, or from personal advice. I guess I just love telling stories, regardless of the medium, whether it’s a photo, music, article, video, podcast, or book! 

Why Labiotech? What inspired you to join us?

It ties in with that variety, I like that Labiotech covers a range of topics, and I like that it’s respected in the industry. But ultimately, for me it’s all about people, and it was the people that made me want to be here. Enjoying what you do is more important than anything. As for the subject matter, biotechnology is hugely important as we navigate some of the challenges we face globally, and being part of that is exciting.

Did we make a good first impression? 😬

Yes. It’s the second impression I’m worried about. And that the first impression of me wasn’t negative either!

What are you most excited about as you step into this new role?

I’m looking forward to being able to achieve so much together. Am I allowed to give things away here with plans? Although it’s a little too early for that as I try to take everything on board. Let’s just say I am looking forward to being part of the team and trying to collaborate on some new things together, and to keep Labiotech growing and relevant, and a fun place to be. 

What would be your best advice for a young person who wants to start a career in science journalism/science communication?

Do something more lucrative instead :). No, people should always follow their passion, and if it’s journalism or communication, that’s great. I think the best advice would be to be versatile. Learn how to do as many things as you can – photography, writing, editing, podcasts, videos. That makes you marketable. It also allows you to find what you like and don’t like, and do what you enjoy the most. Ultimately, it’s all about engaging with your audience, so it’s about the subject matter, not about you: allow your interviewees, or the story, to shine, and you’re doing a good job. And, from experience, always check your recording equipment. 

Tell us one thing you enjoy doing when you’re not writing/editing.

Just one? I’ll be sneaky and see if I can combine them all – walking, with my family, while writing music and watching sport, and recording a podcast about it. But to choose just one, I’m at my happiest when walking, either near my home in western Scotland, or anywhere new.  

A book you would like to recommend to Labiotech readers OR if you could have coffee with one great scientist from any time, who would it be?

Wow, I’m sure they have their own favorites and my favorite book isn’t science related at all, so let’s go with a famous scientist, and I’d like to say it would be Nikola Tesla but the reality is he is no longer with us, so I’d have to say the astrophysicist and better-known-as-guitarist Brian May! 🎸 

Omnia Ibrahim, Editor

Egyptian, currently based in Cologne, Germany

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Omnia, to start with, how would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Incorrigibly opinionated to start…

What inspired you to start writing/editing?

I spent most of my youth with my nose buried in books, and a bookworm whispered that I should take up writing. When I didn’t write the next Harry Potter, my proclivity for following rules awoke the editor inside. Still, rules are made to be broken.

Why Labiotech? What inspired you to join us? 

I was looking to move away from editing scientific papers as I was more interested in science communication. A fortuitous google search for something unrelated landed me on the Labiotech website, and the aesthetically pleasing design promptly told me to scroll down to “Join us.”

Did we make a good first impression? 😬

I was too busy hoping I was the one making a good first impression.

What are you most excited about as you step into this new role?

I’m most excited about working with different content types and writers, as I get to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of different writing styles. I’m always learning something new. 

Any advice for young people who want to start science journalism/science communication?

If you’re in academia, don’t waste time slogging through a PhD. 

Tell us one thing you enjoy doing when you’re not writing/editing.

Wasting time in small shops looking at and coveting wares.  

A book you would like to recommend to Labiotech readers OR if you could have coffee with one great scientist from any time, who would it be?

Just one book is impossible, so I’ll recommend some favorites: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu; Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood; Solaris by Stanisław Lem; The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë; and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Alban Whandja, Sales Manager

From East London and currently based in Tours, France

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Alban, to start with, how would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Out-going, ambitious, and principled.  

What motivated you to work in the life sciences industry?

I was motivated by the fact that it is an industry that is constantly evolving and extremely innovative in understanding and sustaining life.

Why Labiotech? What inspired you to join us? 

Because it was a good opportunity to be right at the heart of the industry news and trends. What inspired me to join Labiotech is the ability to play a role in facilitating connections between Biotechs, CDMOs, and CROs. 

Did we make a good first impression? 😬

Yes, you did make a good impression, particularly in the way you work and optimize time and resources. 

What are you most excited about as you step into this new role?

I am most excited about assisting our clients in their marketing strategy and helping Labiotech grow beyond its current reach. 

What would be your best advice for a young person who just started his/her career?

Be an avid observer and bold in putting things into practice. 

Tell us one thing you enjoy doing outside of work.

When I am not watching and cheering for my favourite club, I enjoy playing football during my free time.

A book you would like to recommend to Labiotech readers OR if you could have coffee with one great scientist from any time, who would it be?

It would be Nikola Tesla, because he was a brilliant scientist who revolutionized electricity and set the stage for wireless technology. I am sure I would be able to learn a thing or two from him.

Thanks, Jim, Omnia, and Alban! It’s wonderful to get to know you and have you join our team! 

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